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Judge adds federal retainer to AAU coach charged with abuse

A former Connecticut AAU coach accused of sexually abusing players must stay in prison even if he makes bond on state sexual assault charges, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Former pro basketball player Danny Lawhorn, 30, of Hartford, also faces federal child enticement charges related to alleged sexual assaults on three girls who played for the Bria Holmes Elite program over the past four years.

The federal charges allege that in June he assaulted a player from overseas who was staying at the Hartford home that Lawhorn shared with Holmes, a former WNBA player, and the couple’s child.

U.S. District Judge Robert A. Richardson Monday granted a prosecution motion for pretrial detention, ruling that Lawhorn, who played professionally in Europe, is a flight risk.

Lawhorn’s attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, argued that his client not be detained on the federal charges in part because the player at the center of the case was not on a team coached by Lawhorn in June, and was three weeks shy of her 18th birthday at the time of the incident.

However, prosecutors said Lawhorn told police that he knew the girl was 17 and they have video of him coaching the girl. They said that Lawhorn also had a lot of power over where she lived and what her future might be.

“If she is relying on him to help her get a scholarship or for him to talk to colleges for her, then he obviously has the ability to help or hinder,” Richardson found.

Two other former players in the Holmes Elite program have come forward to say they were abused by Lawhorn in 2017 and 2019, federal prosecutors said. All three girls, who were under the age of 18 at the time, said Lawhorn asked for a massage before he sexually assaulted them, according to court documents.

The FBI said Friday that it knows of “quite a few” victims and is actively searching for others.

Lawhorn, who was already in custody in lieu of a $250,000 state bond, is due back in state court on Wednesday.

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